The spring meeting of the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board was held March 13-16 at Oakland Church of the Brethren in Bradford, Ohio. Southern Ohio/Kentucky District hosted the board meeting, arranging the venue, meals, and other hospitality. Leading the meeting were chair Patrick Starkey with chair-elect Carl Fike and general secretary David Steele.
The meeting originally was to take place at the Brethren Retirement Community in Greenville, Ohio, but it was moved to the Oakland church after the retirement community--which houses a nursing home as well as independent living and assisted living for seniors--decided it was no longer able to welcome visitors into its facilities.
On March 12, a day before the meeting started, Ohio governor Mike DeWine declared a state ban on mass gatherings of 100 or more people in order to mitigate spread of the virus. Months in advance, board members and/or staff had been invited to preach for Sunday morning worship at 11 of the Church of the Brethren congregations in the area. Most of those congregations canceled in-person worship that Sunday, but three of the preachers were able to bring their messages as planned.
The board also was to attend a district-sponsored performance by Ted Swartz and Ken Medema, but the event was canceled. The board’s visit to Bethany Theological Seminary, just over the state border in Richmond, Ind., went ahead.
Agenda and actions
The meeting agenda was marked by numerous reports, among them financial outcomes for 2019; “ministry sharing” reports from the Office of Ministry, Discipleship Ministries, and Global Mission and Service; reports from various board committees; and a report on the compelling vision to be brought to the 2020 Annual Conference.
Annual Conference secretary James Beckwith led a board development training on “Mission and Ministry Board within Church of the Brethren Structure.”
The following actions were taken:
-- John Mueller was welcomed as a new board member filling the uncompleted term of Marcus Harden, who has resigned from the board.
-- After receiving an extensive report on the Nigeria Crisis Response, approval was given for a grant of $300,000 from the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to cover the remaining 2020 program expenses and to carry the response through March 2021.
-- Two recommendations from the Strategic Design Team were approved, first to engage the services of a consultant to coach the work toward a new strategic plan, and second to name an expanded committee to bring a strategic plan for board approval. Named to the Strategic Plan Formation Team were Carl Fike, board chair-elect who will serve as convenor; board members Lauren Seganos Cohen, Paul Schrock, and Colin Scott; Russ Matteson, district executive from Pacific Southwest District; Rhonda Pittman Gingrich, who has led the compelling vision process; and Josh Brockway as staff in Discipleship Ministries.
-- A short-term committee was formed to bring a recommendation to the board for how to use the Brethren Service Center Quasi-endowment. The committee includes three board members--Roger Schrock as convenor, Paul Liepelt, and Diane Mason--and a staff member to be named by the general secretary.
-- Denise Kettering-Lane was appointed to a four-year term on the Brethren Historical Committee beginning July 1. She is assistant professor of Brethren Studies at Bethany Seminary.
For more about the Mission and Ministry Board, go to www.brethren.org/mmb .